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Woman’s live-in partner cannot be prosecuted for cruelty as husband, says Kerala HC

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Kochi, July 11: In a significant ruling, the Kerala High Court stated that a woman’s partner, who is not legally married, cannot be prosecuted under Section 498A of the IPC for the offence of cruelty. The court on Thursday ruled this after quashing the proceedings against the petitioner who was the live-in partner of the complainant woman.

“Thus, it appears that in order to attract an offence punishable under Section 498(A) of IPC, the most essential ingredient is, subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or relative/relatives of the husband. The term ‘husband @ hubby’ means a married man, a woman’s partner in marriage. Thus, marriage is the constituent which takes the woman’s partner to the status of her husband. Marriage means a marriage in the eye of the law.

Thus, without legal marriage, if a man becomes a woman’s partner, he will not be covered by the term ‘husband’ for the purpose of Section 498(A) of IPC,” ruled the court. The allegation was that the petitioner mentally and physically harassed the woman from March 2023 to August 2023 while they were in a live-in relationship.

The court further pointed out that to attract an offence under Section 498A, an offence of cruelty must be committed by the husband or relatives of the husband. It stated that a man, who was a woman’s partner without legal marriage, cannot be prosecuted under Section 498A.

IANS

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